Although our society tends not to encourage co-sleeping, I quickly found that with my first child, once she woke up once, if I slept with her we both got much more sleep than if I tried to
By sleeping together, you and your baby get into similar sleep cycles. If you put your baby in a separate room, she wakes up on her sleep cycles, you on yours, and there’s no coordination. That means that she might be waking up when you’re in your deepest sleep (when it’s a lot harder to wake up and harder to fall back into a sound sleep).
For working mothers, it not only can be helpful to gain more sleep, but also allow reverse cycling. (Click here to learn why more working moms are choosing to reverse cycle their babies.)
Co-Sleeping Benefits for Moms and Babies
Why do mommies choose to co-sleep?
*is easier. It is so much easier to just roll over and comfort and/or breastfeed your baby than to wait until she wakes you from another room, get up and comfort her (now she is REALLY crying) and then try to get back to sleep.
*encourages breastfeeding by making nighttime feedings more convenient and less disruptive.
*lets your sweet baby fall back to sleep easier after night feedings…especially during their first few months. When they wake up in the middle of the night, they can fall asleep at the breast and you do not have to get up and move them back to a bed. (In my kids cases…THAT would be what woke them back up!)
*helps mommy and baby get into the same sleep cycle (so the sleep that you do get is more restful.)
*helps working mothers who are separated from their sweeties all day feel the closeness with their children that they may feel that they have missed.
Is it Safe?
Crib manufacturers, the media, and other special interests have now gone to war against co sleeping. They want to scare parents out of sleeping with their babies.
You may have heard that sleeping with your baby is dangerous or at least a little risky, too. Surprisingly, scientific research shows that the opposite is true. For sober breastfeeding mothers who co-sleep with their sweeties, SIDS rates are amazingly low and babies are actually much healthier. In fact, some research has shown that sleeping in an adult bed is twice as safe as sleeping in a crib!
Want more proof? Consider that in most countries around the world, sleeping with your baby in your bed in not unusual at all. In fact, it is the norm, not the exception. Then take a look at the rate of SIDS or infant death in those countries. According to Dr. William Sears, studies from the 1990s show the SIDS rate in Japan to be one TENTH of what it was in the United States. In Hong Kong, where cosleeping is also popular, you see similar results with a SIDS rate of one-third of what was reported in the United States.
These type of statistics are simply inconsistent with what is being described by some as a dangerous practice. In fact, it might be safer for your little one.
Making Sure It is Safe
- Here are some reminders to keep sleeping with your baby as safe as possible:
- Always place your baby on his or her back.
- Never place a baby to sleep in your bed alone.
- Never cover your baby’s head.
- Make sure your bed’s headboard and foot board don’t have openings that could trap your sweet baby’s head.
- Keep pillows, comforters, quilts, and other soft or plush items away from your baby or off the bed.
- Don’t drink alcohol, use medications or take any drugs that may keep you from waking up easily. You may accidentally roll over on your baby.
- Don’t place your bed blinds where your sweetie could be strangled by cords.
- Place baby by mommy only and not between mommy and daddy.
- Be careful with “nest beds,” Doctors prefer that you use a separate co-sleeper bed like the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. It attaches securely to an adult mattress so you can nurse, cuddle, and change your infant’s diapers without getting up and being a major interruption to your sleep! It is available from from many boutique baby stores or online at Amazon.com.
It’s Your Decision
Only you can decide if sleeping together is right for you and your situation. Where your child sleeps- whether it’s in your bed, in a co-sleeper or in a crib in a separate room- is a very personal decision. Just do what works best for you and your baby!
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- Sleeping Through the Night for Breastfeeding Babies
- Adjusting to Life with a Breastfeeding Baby
- Infant Separation Anxiety in Breastfed Babies